The List hangs out in strip clubs with Atom Egoyan and calls it art. as we review the new films Opening over the next fortnight.
I Captives ( 15) When her marriage breaks tip. 30-year-old dentist Rachel (Julia ()rinond) starts working two days a week at a prison. When one of the inmates. Philip (Tim Roth) slips her a note saying he hasn't had a visitor in six years. middle-class Rachel surprises herself by going to see ltirtt. l-ler intense feelings for Philip also catch her unawares. so she decides to find him at the cafe where he waits for the bits on his day-release to college. The two struggle to keep their love hidden frorn the eyes of the prison officers and those inmates who would use knowledge of their affair as a blackmailing tool against them.
Writer l’i'ank Deasy scripted 'l'lte (irrrrs .Ilrenu. a Best British Film award- winncr at lidinburgh it) 199 l. arid Captives was also developed. with an eye on theatrical distribution. by the BBC. Director Angela Pope is another TV stalwart. yvlrose work includes Dream [fa/iv and Mr llii/te/ie/t/Cy‘ ('I'irsrtr/e. ('(iplii'es is kind of a 'b’ritjflinen/(liter for the 9(ls‘ and. while not tip therewith the best l‘iliii on l-‘our efforts. it does reaclt beyond the small screen. thanks to superb performances by the two leads and a splendid supporting cast. See feature. I Exotica ( lS) Voyeurism is a recurrent theme in the work of film auteur Atom ligoyan think of the film censor character in The Adjuster and the role of the photographer and his Constant video-watching irt ('u/em/ur. Now the uneasy burden is thrust upon the audience. as the majority of [canned takes place iii a seedy strip club.
lt's not simply the sleaze content that makes this one of figoyan's more accessible work; the characters may be complex and not all that likeable. btrt they contribute to a psychologically engaging tapestry of troubled souls. See preview.
L___.__ _ _
I Legends ur the rail ( l5) Army veteran
Colonel l.udlow (Anthony '
Hopkins) has brought tip his three sorts in the American prairies. When they sign tip with a Canadian tiiiit for service in \\'\\' I. so begins an unrelenting series of tragedies that leave no one unaffected. lidward '/.wick's corning-of—age tale for America hits you with a grand historical sweep that will knock you off your feet. Large set- pieces are stirrineg realised. as they were iii the director's (ilm'v. but. ill the end. the flood of misery becomes too much to bear. Spread over a couple of nights as a TV tiriiii-sei‘ies. it might have worked. btit this level of intensity makes the melodrama more laughable than heart- rending. See preview.
l Outbreak ( 15 )
Marrkirid's helplessness in the face of a lethal virtrs is a constant fear around the world. In film terms. ll()\\'C\L‘l‘. it proy es a problerri. as the real villain of the piece is an unseen bug that can‘t be punched out in the final reel by our hero. Director Wolfgang Petersen tries to make tip for this the best he can: finds an untypical lead for this kind in movie of little Dustin Hoffman. btit it still descends front tense drama itito hardware slioot-‘cttt-up for its finale.
A deadly y iitrs makes its way from the African raiiifoi'ests to ('aliforriia. where it proy es to be more contagious than llte common cold. Almost itiiiriedrately the yirtis stairs spreading outwards at art atria/ing rate. It's tip to Dr Sanr Daniels (Hoffman) to get the disease under control. but the inilitar'y's solution
cottld be more apocalyptic
30 The List 2| Apr-4 May I995
than the \‘lt'llS‘ itself. Undoubtedly a winner for those who don't examine their plots under a microscope. ()rrrlneuk's attempts to capitalise on AIDS paranoia don't always hit home. Nor do they deserve to. See preview.
Muriel‘s Wedding: “deliciously exuberant' A bridal bouquet arcs through the air,
; falling straight into the hands of
l Muriel. Poor Muriel: eldest daughter
of ‘Battling’ Bill Heslop (Bill Hunter), prime mover and shaker in the Australian coastal resort of Porpoise Spit. A local councillor from the Queensland school of bent politicians, he browbeats his severer dysfunctional family into lethargic torpor, buying out their consequent
-, misdemeanours just as he buys votes with favours. Poor Muriel: all she wants is to be loved, to be a success, to get married. But she doesn’t do her hair right, she dresses in the wrong
x y clothes, she’s fat and, worst of all, she
listens to 705 music. Cas-u-al-ty! Muriel, played to perfection by Toni Collette, escapes from her family by virtue of a mistakenly given blank cheque, to act out her fantasies in
schoolfriend Rhonda (Rachel Griffiths).
But her drive for self-fulfilment reveals her to be as unthinkineg callous as the ‘friends’ she left behind.
This deliciously exuberant film rejoices in the triumph of real Australians over soap-image cliches and continues the line of Ozzy low- budget successes started with Strictly Ballroom. Although it is a tad too long, writer-director P.J. Hogan knows when he has a good joke to tell, drawing it out to the max before delivering the punchline in colourful wild abandon. Muriel and Rhonda’s Abba routine is spot-on and the acting universally excellent. A must-see for even the
I [339139- THIN ICE
most embittered wedding cynic. (Thom
Muriel’s Wedding (15) (P.J.Hogan, Aus, 1994) Toni Collette, Bill Hunter, Rachel Griffiths. 106 minutes. From Fri 21. General release.
’ After no little delay, the latest film
from the Taviani brothers takes a 200- year trek through the realms of history and legend to chronicle the ongoing travails of Tuscany’s Benedetti family (the name translates as ‘blessed’) and the catalogue of misfortune that has earned them the nickname of the ‘Maledettis’ (or ‘cursed’).
Framed by a contemporary setting, as the most recent Benedetti scion unfolds the saga to his two young children, the story is traced back to the Napoleonic era, when the then- peasant family acquired a vast fortune by stealing a casket of gold from a young French soldier, despite the fact that their daughter Elisabetta had fallen in love with him. ‘Fiorile’, the title given to spring in the French Revolution’s rewritten calendar, was the pet name he gave her before he was shot for derelection of duty: an innocent whose fate comes to signify both the best and worst of man, and to demand a hefty reparation in the
Fiorile: ‘a classy piece of work' madness and murder that marks the Benedetti’s subsequent tragic history. Typically, the Tavianis’ film is a classy piece of work, with the transitions between past and present handled with great fluidity by their roving camera. The longer the piece goes on, however, the more the pace begins to drag and the suspicion begins to enter the viewer’s mind that a lot of time and energy has been expended on material that doesn’t quite warrant the effort. For all its
good and ill, is mankind too ‘cursed’ in
this way? Are we, as a society, done for because we’ve turned our backs on the ideas represented by, say, unquestioning love? Finally, Fiorile begs more questions than it answers. (Trevor Johnston)
Fiorile (12) (Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, ltaly/France/Germany, 1993) Claudio § Bigagli, Calatea Ranzi, Michel Vartan. 118 mins. Subtitles. From Fri 21: i Glasgow Film Theatre.
. Thin Ice: “an uncomplicated lesblan love story"
Perhaps gay cinema never really manages to pull in more of a tttaittstt'earit audience because the irripiesstott is that it dwells only on (\ttll and sadness. .'\II)S and alienation. lt's tltrite reliesliiug. tlteictorc. to come across 'l'lr/H /( e. air utrcotttpiicaled lesbian lt)\ e .slttly llltll lt‘ctlg'ltlSL's. but doesn't get weighed down by. llte difficulties surrounding its sexuality.
Dumped by her ice- skattrig and seyttal par‘tiiei |tl\l weeks l‘L‘l'UlL' \lIC'S due to go to the (lay (iames in New York. Steffi (Sabra Williams) persuades straight new comer Natalie ((‘hailotte .-\\ei'y l to work on a routine w ill) her for the competition. l’rilaiowri to Natalie. ltt)\\ c'\ct‘. Steffi .tlltl her wirtet' friend (iicg (.larties‘ Drey fits) are planning to use the trip for an ()lHt’l l't'l' [ale coy ei' feature. which w ill mark their big break into irrariistream roiii’nalrsiii. 'l'he coiiiiiiissrori rests on the fact that botli skaters should be gay. bttt Natalie
tiatitriatised by her father is rccetrt suicide arid lreiiirtretl lll .it home by
her dorrrrireeiiiig sister and lecherous brother ~lll-l;l\\
is beginning to awaken to a new se\it.'iltty at her ()\\ll l),lk'k'.
Director. producer and co-wiiter l-iorta (‘ttittririgltattt ls’ettl. who made acclaimed Sydney .\l;iidi (iras docutrietitary /.('('t/ Hie/Ir 'lii Hie ('tr/x/u/rir/y. tleli\ er s a nice. lllttllc‘llsl’sc'. slightly (lowtly. lit'tlislt 'l‘\'-st_\ lc piece as her feature debut The lead characters are appealirigly portrayed and. on the whole. there's a \\.illlt. positt\e feel to the proceedings that's the same as any lightweight romantic drama. \\'hich is no bad thing. r.-\lan .\lr)t'lls()ltl
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